OC Moms Guide – December 2022

OC Moms Guide - Orange County Events December 2022

‘Tis the season…to get in the holiday spirit! Whatever you choose to celebrate this month, there are SO many fantastic, family-friendly, and (in some cases) totally free Orange County events December has to offer. It was seriously very challenging deciding which ones to include in this post. Because we try to keep it to about a dozen of the most interesting happenings each month, I had to make some hard cuts….

Thankfully, we already have our OC Moms’ Guide To The Holidays 2022 which lists helpful info about local events like:

We’ve even got a post about the Hanukkah Family-Friendly Fun in Orange County!

You’ll definitely want to check those posts out too if you haven’t already!

Plus, most of the places listed below have even more holiday events and activities happening throughout the month. So be sure to check their websites for additional info. This is just a selective highlight from the best of the best for Orange County events December 2022!


OCMC’s Donuts With Santa – Orange

December 10

We have already started selling out of some time slots for this event so don’t snooze on signing up! Please join OC Mom Collective for our annual Donuts with Santa event. Celebrate the holidays with a magical morning with your family with crafts and of course donuts. Beat the lines at the mall and avoid the crowds by having your pictures with Santa taken by us!

*Each ticket is for your entire family. Grab the photo time slot that works best for you!

*Each family ticket will include 1 digital print from our photographer (You will only get 1 digital print per ticket – no matter how many people are in your family group)

*Enjoy Donuts and small bites

*Fun holiday swag bag

*Access to our amazing vendors to do some holiday shopping

Tickets are a flat $40 which covers your entire family and includes everything listed above. Family tickets are all-inclusive and grant access to unlimited food, beverages, and sweets!


The Polar Express at Southern California Railway Museum – Perris

Now-December 31

From their website: “Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, passengers will relive the magic of the classic story as they are whisked away on THE POLAR EXPRESS™ for a magical one-hour trip to the North Pole. Once on board, your car hosts will work their way through the coach and punch your golden ticket before hot chocolate and delicious Walkers Shortbread are served by dancing chefs. Passengers then read along with the classic children’s book, The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg. Santa and his helpers board the train to greet passengers and each guest is given the first gift of Christmas – a silver sleigh bell. During the trip, characters on each car lead passengers in caroling and onboard entertainment just like in the film! Each guest will take home a keepsake sleigh bell in addition to the wonderful memories made on this magical trip.”

Tickets start at $50 per adult, $43 per child 2-11 plus fees. Lap children under 2 are free. Active duty military members receive $5 discount per ticket up to 10 tickets with service ID using online checkout code HERO5. 

WinterFestOC – Costa Mesa

Now through January 1, 2023

Celebrate the Winter Solstice and the season of snow with actual snow! From their website: “WinterFest OC transforms the OC Fair & Event Center into a winter wonderland with oversized holiday decor, more than a million lights, and endless opportunities for memory-making. Enjoy the magic of the holiday season with past Winter Fest OC favorites as well as all-new activities! Activities include; North Pole Journey, ice skating under the stars, 150 foot long ice tubing slide, snowboard simulator, carnival thrills, food and drinks, holiday market,  photo ops., and so much more!”

General Admission tickets start at $26.95 for Adults and $21.95 for Children ages 3-12. Fees not included. Children 2 and under are free. General Admission includes entry, access to the immersive North Pole journey, nightly live entertainment, evening tree lighting show, dazzling light displays, and winter photo opps.


Science Of Gingerbread at the Discovery Science Center – Santa Ana

Now through January 1, 2023

From their website: “Step into a winter wonderland and immerse yourself in all things festive! Gingerbread village – see all of the amazing entries from the competition! Decorate the perfect holiday cookie. Participate in the Winter Weather Workshop. Join story-time and the interactive activity every day. Code holiday lights, sounds, and snowflakes.” My son loved making his own candy car racer some years back and looking at all the Gingerbread Houses made by kids all over Orange County.

Included with general admission to the Cube. Ages 15+ $19.95, Children ages 3-14 $14.95, and Seniors ages 62+ $16.95. Children ages 2 and under are free. Check local magazines for coupons! 

Knotts Merry Farm – Buena Park

Now through January 8

From their website: “Experience Knott’s largest Christmas celebration with winter wonderland-inspired décor transforming the entire park into a classic holiday festival, featuring a landscape of thousands of twinkling lights, miles of themed garland, jumbo snowflakes, and a variety of picturesque seasonal settings. Knott’s Merry Farm offers Christmas activities for families and joyful experiences inspired by the spirit of the holidays.”

Included with general Knott’s Berry Farm admission. One day park tickets start at $69 for ages 12-61, Juniors 3-11 and Seniors 62+. Children 2 and under are free. Discount for active/retired military. Parking starts at $25. Check local magazines and AAA for discounts!

La Habra Tamale Festival – La Habra

December 3

From their website: “La Habra’s first Tamale Festival was held in 2014, and attendance was so great that the City decided that the event should be added to the list of over 100 annual La Habra happenings!  The all-day Festival has grown, and in 2016 drew 10,000 attendees who shopped, laughed and ate, while enjoying performances by exceptional entertainers that included local dance studios and musicians, as well as a craft pavilion with local vendors, churro eating contests, and best tamale, best dessert tamale, best salsa and hottest salsa contests.  In addition, we added a free special event shuttle that brings residents and visitors to the festival from convenient off-site parking areas.  Last, the City’s annual Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony is now part of the event.  In 2021 the festival added a Holiday Firework show!  Join us in 2022 for the 9th Annual La Habra Tamale Festival and be a part of our local history!”

Free to attend. Bring money for food, drink, and some activities. Free event shuttles running every 15 minutes from 9am-11pm. 


Annual Boat Parade Of Lights – Dana Point Harbor

December 9-11

It’ll be a “Surfin’ USA” theme at the Annual Boat Parade of Lights this year in Dana Point Harbor. Arrive early and take photos with Santa and/or the Menorah. Stroll through the large themed holiday lights display featuring over 700,000 LED lights including a giant whale sculpture, lighted palm trees, giant beach ball ornaments, the popular “Merry Kiss Me” arch, and more. And then when the sun sets, enjoy twinkling holiday lights for as far as the eye can see.

Free to view the parade from anywhere in the Harbor. Or you can maybe make a reservation for a window view at one of the restaurants on the water. Additional parking is available for a fee at Doheny State Beach and from there you can take a FREE Trolley to the festivities (4:30pm-10:30 pm).


Christmas At The OC Zoo – Orange

December 10

From their website: “Come visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, make festive crafts, and play fun games! See the zoo animals receive holiday “gifts” and treats hidden inside Christmas trees!”

Reservations are not needed. Activities are free with paid zoo admission ($2 per person; ages 2 & under free). Parking fee is is $5 per car on weekends. Zoo coupons/free passes are not valid for this event. 


Menorah Workshop At The Home Depot – Costa Mesa

December 11

Build your own menorah and enjoy Hanukkah treats. I did this with my son before the pandemic and it was a lot of fun – glad to see this tradition being brought back! This is a fun hands-on way to experience this holiday, and you get to walk away with your very own menorah which can be used as a decoration or a functional candle holder.

Free but RSVP is required. 


Chanukah At The Outlets – San Clemente

December 20


Celebrate the end of Hanukkah with this outdoor menorah lighting celebration. Festivities include music, a stilt-walker with gelt and dreidel parachute drop, a balloon artist, variety show, crafts for the kids, donuts, and more.

Free. At Oak Tree Court.


Don’t forget to check out the Hanukkah Family-Friendly Fun in Orange County post, which has even more events happening during Hanukkah. This dreidel-tastic holiday takes place from December 18-26 this year. Many of them are free and all are welcome to participate!



Heritage Hill Holiday Lights – Lake Forest

December 16-19

From their website: “Spend the holiday season with OC Parks at Heritage Hill Historical Park this December! Holiday Lights will take place December 16, 17 and 18 from 5 to 9
p.m. Wander through twinkling light displays during special park hours. Pets are welcome outdoors only on leashes no longer than 6 feet. Please note that no additional entertainment or refreshments will be provided at Holiday Lights. Make sure to bring a camera and take your picture at a variety of holiday-themed photo opportunities!”

Event and parking are free.


Festival of Kwanzaa Celebration at Pretend City – Irvine

December 28

Pretend City celebrates many special world holidays, and is ending its jam-packed calendar of Orange County Events December with Kwanzaa! Join them to light a candle on the Kinara and celebrate a new principle through various activities such as a Kufi craft, Kwanzaa storytimes, coloring activity, and more. If you’d like your children to learn the cultural importance of this holiday, or are looking for a family-friendly place to celebrate it together, Pretend City is a great place to do so!

Included with museum admission. $19.95 adults and children over 12 months. seniors $17.95. Military and their families $16.95. Free to members and infants under 1 year old. 


And of course the most important of the Orange County Events December has to offer? Quality time with your family. All of us at OC Mom Collective wish you and your loved ones a very happy holiday season!

OC Moms Guide - Orange County Events December 2022 PIN

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Follow me on Instagram @EcoFriendlyMama, Twitter @EcoFriendlyMa, and Pinterest @EcoFriendlyMama! Though I was born and raised in New York City, I've lived in SoCal for over ten years now and am proud to call this beautiful and diverse place my home. My husband and I have a son and baby daughter (whom I was 9 months pregnant with when this photo was taken!). Prior to becoming a mommy I spent several years in feature film publicity and acquisitions for Miramax and later as the Creative Executive for Hilary Swank Productions before seguing to the music industry where I did Online Communications for the GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares. In my ample pre-parenthood free time, I also freelanced as a script analyst and screenwriter. I am fortunate now to be able to devote all my time to my family, but I still love to write so am thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of this blog! I am a foodie, avid traveler, environmentalist, preschool board member, and unabashed Disney nut. I can also be found writing about green parenting and eco-conscious living on my personal website, https://ecofriendlymama.com.


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